American Idol finale: Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery close on a low note
American Idol featured Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery, the two youngest contestants ever to face-off for the title. But did the decidedly unremarkable American Idol finale teach the producers that they should be careful what they wish for?
Robert Willett / The News & Observer
But if you are not a fan of country music, there is a very good chance that you sat through this show asking yourself, â€śThis is the finale? This is the culmination of the season?â€ť
Each contestant had three songs to sing: their favorite of the season, a song chosen by their singing idol, and finally an original song that will become their first single if they win.
Maybe it was the pressure or the 7,000 audience members, but Scotty McCreery seemed like he may have been in shock this episode. Sure, he hit all of his facial choreography while singing, but tonightâ€™s Scotty was a subdued, almost somber performer. There was no light in his eyes and few country boyish grins.
Round 1: For his favorite song of the season, he chose Montgomery Gentryâ€™s, â€śGone.â€ť The performance was nothing special and seemed rather blasĂ© for the finale. But by the end of the show, it was the most energetic of all Scottyâ€™s songs Tuesday evening. B-
Round 2: George Strait, picked one of his own songs for Scotty. Certainly, a totally altruistic move and Mr. Strait could not have been imagining his song being revitalized on iTunes the next morning. Scotty did a decent job with, â€śCheck Yes or No,â€ť but again, his heart didnâ€™t seem to be in the performance. B-
Round 3: Anyone who has watched a season of American Idol should know full well that the songs written for the finale are nothing short of torturous, both for the singer and for those listening. But this year, Scottyâ€™s original song,â€ť I Love You This Big,â€ť was not the horror fans have come to expect. If Scotty had tried to sell it, it could have been better. But as with the first two rounds, Scotty seemed distant and emotionally detached. B-
Host Ryan Seacrest explained to viewers that, prior to the show, Lauren Alaina had been struggling with her voice. Any concerns were immediately put to rest when viewers learned that Laurenâ€™s strained vocal chords were treated by the very same doctor who pulled Casey Abrams back from the brink of collapse when the judges opted to save him from elimination.
Round 1: Lauren chose Carrie Underwoodâ€™s, â€śFlat on the Floor,â€ť for her first round. The performance was lively enough and her voice didnâ€™t seem to be compromised during the song but like most of the songs on Tuesday night, it certainly didnâ€™t seem finale worthy. B
Round 2: Carrie Underwood chose, Pam Tillisâ€™s â€śMaybe it was Memphis,â€ť for Lauren and it proved to be a perfect choice. Lauren sang the song beautifully and it showed some of the range that made her such a standout in auditions. A
Round 3: Apparently contributing to the demise of Haley Reinhart by choosing â€śRhiannon,â€ť wasnâ€™t enough for Jimmy Iovine. This week, he presented Lauren with an original song that has the dubious distinction of being even worse than Season 8â€™s â€śNo Boundaries.â€ť
The song was an ode to mothers and what mother wouldnâ€™t swoon over lyrics like these?
â€śSheâ€™s a rock. She is great. Sheâ€™s an angel.â€ť
Come on Idol, just because it was written for a 16-year-old doesnâ€™t mean it has to sound like it was written by a 16-year-old! Lauren tried to buoy the appeal of the song by entering the audience to hug her mother as she sang. She did what she could with what she was given. C
Aside from the country music, awful winnerâ€™s singles, and a random performance at the end by Taio Cruz, there was one redeeming quality in this yearâ€™s finale: the judges were given only a limited window to talk. As you may have guessed, both Lauren and Scotty were brilliant, amazing, wonderful and in it to win it . . . but here were the judges breakdowns of the night:
Round 1: Scotty
Round 2: Lauren
Round 3: Lauren
Round 1: Scotty
Round 2: Lauren
Round 3: Too close to call.
Round 1: Lauren
Round 2: Lauren (But according to Steven it is only because Laurenâ€™s prettier than Scotty.)
Round 3: Lauren
Both Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler predicted the win for Lauren. JLo told her after the third round that, â€śWith that song, you may have just won it.â€ť And then Steven added, â€śAs far as Iâ€™m concerned, the first time I saw you I thought you were my American Idol and I think America is going to find that to be true. Youâ€™re it in my eyes.â€ť
Although agreeing with the judges is not something that has been easy this season, they might just be right this time.